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Troup native earns 2023 Field Enumerator of the Year award

Mar. 28—Troup native Sherman Clem earned the 2023 Field Enumerator of the Year award from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture in partnership with the United States Department of Agricultural Statistics Service.

"It's a great honor," Clem said. "I've always tried to do the best I can on anything I do."

Five awards are presented annually, only three of which are for field enumerators.

Clem said he was unaware he had been nominated until he received a call informing him he had won the award.

"I was in the grocery store and I got this call from one of the state coordinators, which they don't normally call somebody. They said, 'Congratulations, you've been nominated for the award and you won it,'" Clem said.

A monetary prize of $1,000 was presented, along with the award.

Clem was nominated by his supervisor, Dr. Angie Bettcher-Patton, who is based out of Longview. She nominated Clem due to his hard work, dedication and work ethic, according to a press release from NASDA.

"Sherman's unrelenting work ethic has been outstanding," Bettcher-Patton said. "He completes assignments ahead of time and creates a high success rate. Sherman has built a good working relationship with the agriculture community."

Clem credits his high success rate due to his ability to talk to people and relate to them.

"I've dealt with agriculture all my life, raised on a farm," he said.

Although he now lives in Tyler, Clem still maintains a farm in Troup.

"I still see quite a few people that I knew through my other job and I stay current on what's happening in the agriculture industry," he said. "I just enjoy talking to people."

Enumerators collect data such as the number of cattle being raised, the types of crops being grown and operational costs experienced by farmers and ranchers.

"We're the only ones who collect data for the USDA," Clem said. "We're the agency that collects all the data when they have crop reports. It's how the county agents come up with their numbers. Everybody uses our numbers that we collect from the industry."

He noted that the information is recorded by an assigned number and no personal information is recorded.

Clem, who had retired after 39 years with the Texas Department of Agriculture as a nursery/greenhouse inspector, was recruited into his current part-time position.

"I was interviewed myself for my little farm and the lady who interviewed me is my supervisor. She said I need you on my team because of your knowledge," Clem said.

Clem has been serving with the National Agricultural Statistics Service for 12 years.